The Bi-Black Sheltie: Why Aren't There More?

› Bi-Black Sheltie

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Interesting tidbit: Statistics show that black dogs in general are less likely to be adopted from a shelter than any other color.

Strange but true. I guess we as humans are constantly discriminating for unfathomable reasons. Black dogs can be as loving and sweet as white dogs. But that’s another topic….

To me, the less common bi-black sheltie embodies Shakespeare’s line: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

So why don’t we like them? Why are there less of them in the Sheltie breed?

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To answer the first question, I will preface it with the note that this is just my option…

  1. I find it more difficult to really see the expression on a black dog’s face unless in good light. Just a little harder to “read” than other dogs.
  2. A lot of bi-black dogs do not have that sweet Sheltie expression other colors have. Sometimes I think the eyes are set closer together and too round in the ones I have seen.

That is the case for Annie, my little tri-colored girl. Which is not to say I don’t like her for a myriad of other reasons, just not her expression.

Then there are the blacks that have the look I do like. Take my Hobo for example. In spite only a miniscule of white on his face, I find his expression soft and inviting.

I had no intention of keeping him when his litter was born, but the longer I kept him the more I liked what I saw. Which explains how I have too many boys for the number of girls I have.

bi-black sheltie

So, is just personal preference what keeps the bi-black numbers low? To answer the second question, probably not. Unlike other breeds, the Bi-black gene in Shelties is the most recessive of the three colors. Other breeds, black is dominant.

This color Sheltie is called bi-black because it carries only two colors on it, black and white. No tan.

Now there is some dispute as to whether the bi-black and the tri-color are two separate genes or whether there is only sable and black genes in shelties with a separate gene for a dominant tan points marking.

How To Produce A Bi-Black Sheltie

In either event, the only way to get a bi-black Sheltie is to have the resulting puppy inherit a bi black gene from both mom and dad.

So, if you have two tri-colored parents (dominant gene) each with a hidden (recessive) black gene, you could end up with a few bi-black shelties in the litter.

I got Hobo by breeding my tri-color girl with another tri-color. Therefore, both must have had the bi black gene behind them.

Let’s look at some puppies Hope has produced so far. She had been bred to a blue merle, a tri-color and subsequently to a sable male:

She had:

  • Color headed whites (or piebald) puppies,
  • Blue merle puppies,
  • A bi-black
  • Shaded sable
  • And a partridge in a pear tre-e-e-e-e.... (just checking... still awake? :) )

So just from the resulting pups, I can guesstimate Hope’s color coat genetics: one tri-color gene/ one bi-black gene, and a white factored (or piebald) gene. (Though, honestly there is a tiny part of me that still thinks she is a cryptic merle. Some thoughts die hard.)

From looking at her I also know she has the Irish pattern (white markings that are on her feet, chest, tail tip and neck)

The only way to get a bi-black sheltie is if each parent has at least one hidden bi-black gene or if one or both parents is bi-black meaning they carry two bi-black genes are carried by that parent.

If your head is spinning, not to worry. Again, no matter the color, the personality is still Sheltie through and through!

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